Life is sometimes about priorities. Getting priorities right in life is critical, essential and important to business, career development and attaining maturity in leadership. Simply put, right priorities are essential in life. Many people go through life frustrated or struggling due to wrong priorities. Life can be very frustrating if one does not possess adequate skills to handle daily schedule. Imagine that during a single day, you need to answer a phone, attending important meetings, executing home duties and the list goes on. At work, the balance between attending to a colleague and executing your office tasks must be maintained. As a young man or woman trying to develop career, how do you prioritize?
There are four different levels wherein you can adjust your priorities. They are:
- Important issues/Urgent
- Important issues/ Not Urgent
- Urgent issues/ Not important
- Not urgent/ Not important issues.
It is important to develop skills needed to attend to different priorities without being a victim of circumstance. As human being, we have so much energy but with a limited time. Thus expending that energy appropriately is important to attaining a high level of success in preset goals. Four steps identified above help to fix our priorities accordingly. You may examine your schedule in the light of those four levels while ensuring that you do not violate, jump or misplace your priority.
Understanding 3 R’s
The three R’s help to understand and put the priorities in proper perspective.
- What is required of me? If you know correctly what is required, it will be possible to spend less time chasing shadow. Part of wrong priorities is inability to understand the basic requirement for life, what you want to achieve and ultimate goals in life. Take time out to define what you want in life.
- What give the greatest return? According to Pareto principle, 20 percent of your priorities will give you 80 percent of your production. The implication is that, where you give 20 percent of your time or energy top priorities, you will in turn receive 80 percent in return as a form of reward. Thus, it is important to pay attention to important issues of your life rather dissipating energy here and there.
- What is rewarding? Doing what is rewarding is an important step in prioritizing. It is not just enough to engage in business or activities for the sake of it. Is it emotionally rewarding? Do you derive fun from your activities? What stake do you hold in your current engagement? While financial reward should not be overlooked, it should not override other physiological reward attached to your activities. Interesting, there is always a stage in life where physiological reward keeps you going rather than monetary benefit.
Finally, a story was told of Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts of United States of America. The senator suddenly announced in January 1984 that he would not seek re-election despite being a clear favorites and a rising start. Earlier, he had discovered that he had a lymphatic cancer which could not be cured but could be treated. The illness did not force Tsonga s out of politics but it did force him to face his own mortality. Instead, he chose his family ahead of politics and record¹. Tsongas decisions exemplify right priorities. Do not concentrate on wrong priorities. There are lofty dreams you will never actualize in your lifetime. You must therefore wake-up to reality. It helps you to place or get your priority right. Remember: Nobody on his death bed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time on my business”.
1 – Adapted from Developing the Leader within You by John Maxwell